Chelsea have taken six points from six in the Champions League, leaving them in a great position ahead of this clash with Roma. However, their weekend loss to Crystal Palace means the Blues need a response this week, with the Italians likely to smell blood after the Premier League champions lost to the league’s worst side. There certainly are issues for Antonio Conte to deal with, chief amongst them being the absence of N’Golo Kante in midfield. Will that continue to plague him, or can the Blues get a win here?
The Palace result clearly irked Conte, as it should have done. This was a massive blow for the champions, who have already dropped enough points at home this term. That defeat means some are already talking about switching focus to the Champions League, with the Manchester clubs seemingly running away with the Premier League title. If that is the case, then Conte needs his men to claim a victory here. Losing at home to Roma would open this group up again, undoing the good work Chelsea did by claiming a win in Madrid.
Team News: Conte Likely to Race Back Morata
While Alvaro Morata had little history of being a regular starter before his move to Chelsea, he’s proving to be a key member of the side. His absence was felt against Palace on Saturday, and that’s partly why Conte is seemingly racing him back to fitness to get him in to the team this week. While that’s a risk, the Blues do need the Spanish forward fit and firing if they’re to have a strong campaign. They also need Kante, but his absence means that Tiemoue Bakayoko and Cesc Fabregas are the only two fit central midfielders once again.
Roma have quite a few issues up front ahead of this game, with Stephan El Shaarawy, Patrick Schick and Gregoire Defrel all missing out in attack. They are more hopeful over defender Rick Karsdorp and midfielder Kevin Strootman, who are both likely to return to fitness ahead of this game. Roma tried out a 4-2-3-1 formation in their clash with Napoli at the weekend, which saw Nadja Nainggolan pushed forward. That came after criticism over their 4-3-3 formation and the manager’s reluctance to divert from it. We are likely to see them revert back to a three man midfield for a clash of this magnitude.
Like Chelsea, Roma are sat fifth in their domestic league ahead of this game. The Blues are looking to deliver a blow to the Italian’s hopes of making the Champions League knockout round, with the Giallorossi worrying about their future place in this competition. Serie A is developing into a competitive battle for four Champions League spots this year, with Napoli, Juventus, Lazio and the two Milan clubs all in the mix. It’s not just the Premier League that has a big six, with both of these two slightly worried that they face a battle just to return to the Champions League next season. Given that both missed the group stage last year, they won’t want to miss out again.
Roma’s Champions League hopes were dealt a blow on Saturday, as they lost 1-0 to league leaders Napoli. The Giallorossi did push the high flying leaders close in that encounter, but it ultimately wasn’t enough for them to stop the Partenopei. It was quite similar to how the Blues lost at home to Man City recently, managing to subdue the flow of such an attacking side, without fully stopping them. Roma have five wins from seven in Serie A so far, after a win and a draw in this group, they do pose a threat.
Chelsea v Roma Head to Head
Chelsea’s two goals against Roma in their 2008 Champions League group were both scored by John Terry. The Blues finished behind Roma in that group, with that season ending with the controversial semi-final loss to Barcelona. That’s the only recent encounter between these two, and a rematch has been a long time coming.
- Roma 3-1 Chelsea, Nov 2008
- Chelsea 1-0 Roma, Oct 2008
- Both teams to score – 8/11 with BetVictor
- Chelsea and over 3.5 goals – 16/5 with Ladbrokes
Chelsea come into this game as 4/6 favourites with Coral, despite their weekend slip. The Blues are expected to take the three points, with the draw priced at 3/1 with Bet365. You can also back an away win at 9/2 with Betfred, which shows how Roma are already being written off. Their previous form in this competition is likely to play a role in that, as is the nature of their away win in Azerbaijan. While they saw off Qarabag, that performance was far from convincing, which can be said about many of their matches under new boss Eusebio Di Francesco. Can the club from the Italian capital end those criticisms with a result in London on Wednesday?
With Roma playing well at times this season, they have a great chance of taking advantage of Chelsea’s defence. The Blues haven’t been defending well for a while now, and Conte’s insistence on playing anyone over Andreas Christensen doesn’t help that. The Blues shipped two goals to a Palace side who hadn’t scored all season, so there’s obviously some kind of issue there. Roma have a solid attack, which includes former Man City forward Edin Dzeko. We see the Blues getting at least a goal, but they’re also likely to slip up at the back. Both teams to score is our main tip at 8/11 with BetVictor.
Roma’s recent record in the Champions League isn’t great. In their away ties in their last group campaign they conceded three each at Bayer Leverkusen, Barcelona and BATE. We see them struggling at the back once again, so we’re backing Chelsea to edge a high scoring encounter. We’re going with Chelsea and over 3.5 match goals here, which is priced at 16/5 with Ladbrokes.